A Record of Buddhistic kingdoms: being an account by the Chinese monk Fa-hsien of travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist books of discipline eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about A Record of Buddhistic kingdoms.

   Notes

   (1) See Eitel, p. 89.  He describes the assembly as “an ecclesiastical
   conference, first instituted by king Asoka for general confession of
   sins and inculcation of morality.”

   (2) The text of this sentence is perplexing; and all translators,
   including myself, have been puzzled by it.

   (3) See what we are told of king Asoka’s grant of all the Jambudvipa
   to the monks in chapter xxvii.  There are several other instances of
   similar gifts in the Mahavansa.

   (4) Watters calls attention to this as showing that the monks of
   K’eeh-ch’a had the credit of possessing weather-controlling powers.

   (5) The text here has {.} {.}, not {.} alone.  I often found in
   monasteries boys and lads who looked up to certain of the monks as
   their preceptors.

   (6) Compare what is said in chapter ii of the dress of the people of
   Shen-shen.

(7) Giles thinks the fruit here was the guava, because the ordinary name for “pomegranate” is preceded by gan {.}; but the pomegranate was called at first Gan Shih-lau, as having been introduced into China from Gan-seih by Chang-k’een, who is referred to in chapter vii.

CHAPTER VI

On towards north IndiaDaradaImage of Maitreya bodhisattva.

From this (the travellers) went westwards towards North India, and after being on the way for a month, they succeeded in getting across and through the range of the Onion mountains.  The snow rests on them both winter and summer.  There are also among them venomous dragons, which, when provoked, spit forth poisonous winds, and cause showers of snow and storms of sand and gravel.  Not one in ten thousand of those who encounter these dangers escapes with his life.  The people of the country call the range by the name of “The Snow mountains.”  When (the travellers) had got through them, they were in North India, and immediately on entering its borders, found themselves in a small kingdom called T’o-leih,(1) where also there were many monks, all students of the hinayana.

In this kingdom there was formerly an Arhan,(2) who by his supernatural power(3) took a clever artificer up to the Tushita heaven, to see the height, complexion, and appearance of Maitreya Bodhisattva,(4) and then return and make an image of him in wood.  First and last, this was done three times, and then the image was completed, eighty cubits in height, and eight cubits at the base from knee to knee of the crossed legs.  On fast-days it emits an effulgent light.  The kings of the (surrounding) countries vie with one another in presenting offerings to it.  Here it is,—­to be seen now as of old.(5)

   Notes

(1) Eitel and others identify this with
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A Record of Buddhistic kingdoms: being an account by the Chinese monk Fa-hsien of travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist books of discipline from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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